Quali battle: Races 1 to 5

An update of the quali battles that are happening between teammates during the 2019 F1 season. Let’s get straight to the numbers.

Average delta per quali session

Important information!

  • This analysis takes into consideration only the best qualifying session in which both drivers were present. Eg: In Australia, Max Verstappen advanced into Q2 and Q3, but Pierre Gasly was only able to take part in Q1. In this case, the delta was obtained by getting the difference between Gasly’s best time in Q1 and Max’s best time, also from Q1.
  • The drivers on the left side have a negative delta, and therefore are winning the qualifying battle against their teammates, while the drivers on the right side have a positive delta and are losing the quali battle.

As it was during the previous analysis, the biggest delta between teammates is the one between George Russell and Robert Kubica. So far, the gap is a massive 0.669 seconds. In the next section we will see with detail if the difference is as loopsided as it looks right now.

The second largest gap is found between Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly. So far, the Dutchman has won 4 out of 5 quali battles, being slower than Gasly only in Q1 in Azerbaijan (although he ended up qualifying higher at the end of the session), and is currently beating the Frenchman by an average of 0.272 seconds per quali session.

Sergio Perez is one of two drivers who are still undefeated in quali against their teammate. The gap between him and Stroll is of 0.242 seconds on average. The Mexican is more known for his great race pace than for his quali pace, but so far he has been getting the job done against Lance.

Both Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen are faster than their counterparts by an average of over 2 tenths of a second in quali. Danny Ric has defeated Nico Hulkenberg 4 out of 5 times this season, while KMag has been faster than Romain Grosjean on 3 occasions so far.

The remaining 5 drivers are winning the quali battle by less than a tenth of a second. Valtteri Bottas is surprisingly winning the battle against Lewis Hamilton, mostly with the help of a magnificent Q3 session in Spain.

While Sebastian Vettel has beaten Charles Leclerc 4 out of 5 times this season, he has been faster by only 0.079 seconds. The difference of less than a tenth talks good things about a young driver who is new to the Scuderia.

Kimi Raikkonen has been faster than Antonio Giovinazzi on 3 occasions, with the young Italian taking the victory in Azerbaijan. Antonio is one out of 3 drivers who have not been able to score a point during the season, but his quali pace has not been that bad, especially if you consider that he is fighting against a very experienced Kimi.

Lando Norris is separated from Carlos Sainz by a little bit more than half a tenth. Lando has taken the victory against the Spaniard on 3 occasions (Australia, Azerbaijan and Spain) and has shown great pace for a rookie in F1.

Finally, the battle between Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat is as close as it gets. The young Thai driver is defeating the Russian by only 1 thousand of a second, and both of them have been able to claim 2 victories in quali sessions so far.

Delta per quali session

For 2 drivers, the main contibutors to the average difference have been 2 races. Russell has been much faster than Kubica on 2 ocassions (Spain and Australia), while the remaining 3 sessions have been a lot closer. Verstappen is on the same boat than George, being faster much faster than Gasly in Bahrain and China, massively contributing to the great difference in average quali pace over the season.

The battle between Bottas and Hamilton has been mostly close. While Bottas took a massive lead in Spain (0.634 with the difference between them in other circuits has been at most 0.111 seconds.

The important aspect to take from both of the plots is that they are complementary to each other. The average delta per quali session is a good way to overview what has been happening during the season, but the information must be complimented with the delta quali for each quali session. In order to understand if a driver is actually dominating his counterpart or if the battle is actually close, every session must be observed individually.

Conclusion

If you ask me which drivers are actually dominating the intra-team battle, I would say that there are 3 of them at the moment. George Russell and Checo Perez, who are undefeated against their teammate, and Max Verstappen, who has an average delta of 0.272 seconds and has been faster 4 out of 5 times than Gasly.

The remaining contests are a little bit harder to judge. For example, while Danny Ric has been faster than Nico on 4 occasions, taking a look at the individual races tells us that he took a big win in Azerbaijan that is skewing the data, and the remaining sessions have been a lot more even.

I hope that you can take a look at the data and make your own conclusions. If you do, please let me know what you think in the comments below.

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